Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dirty lakes

The government has a simple plan for economic growth: more cows. But what's the environmental cost? A report released this week - apparently suppressed until after the World Dairy Summit in Auckland had wrapped up - gave us a hint: dirty lakes:

Some of the country's filthiest lakes have been revealed – with a report suggesting that as many as a third may be unhealthy.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has used the report to sound a warning that New Zealand's clean, green brand is at risk and says it is unacceptable that more lakes are deteriorating in water quality than are improving.

The Niwa report provides only a snapshot of the country's waterways as it surveys just 112 of New Zealand's 4000 lakes, with only 68 reliably monitored since 2005.

But the authors believe the sample is enough to suggest things are getting worse in many lakes.

Their report shows that 19 lakes deteriorated over the survey period while eight showed improvement.

The problem was worst in Canterbury, where many of the 19 lakes that were deteriorating were found. But water quality was worst in low and intensively farmed areas such as Waikato and Manawatu.

Our lakes and rivers can barely cope with the amount of piss and shit our cows are pumping out as it is. And the government wants to more than double it. That's profitable for dairy farmers - but those profits will come straight out of the pockets of other New Zealanders, who will have to either pay to clean farmer's shit out of our waterways, or stop using them. National's "growth" is just an environmental wealth transfer, from us to its supporters.